After splitting its last two games, the Ohio State women’s soccer team is preparing for a pair of tough contests on the road.
OSU is set to travel to face No. 12 Wisconsin and Minnesota this weekend. The Buckeyes are 5-6-0 overall and 2-3-0 in Big Ten play after suffering a loss against then-No. 19 Illinois and gaining a win against Northwestern. Coach Lori Walker said the team showed signs of improvement over the weekend but still sees consistency as an issue.
“We are continuing to take steps forward, I felt that there were moments on Friday (against Illinois) where we defended really well and then there were moments where there were continual breakdowns,” Walker said. “Sunday (against Northwestern) I thought there were moments we were really strong and we did a good job of getting pressure on the ball in higher places and that prevented some of the longer services that we have been struggling with.”
Walker praised the work of some of the team’s underclassmen who’ve had an impact on the season so far.
“(Freshman forward) Sammy Edwards has certainly been an offensive threat, she’s been able to find the back of the net and had some assists and she’s been pretty dangerous. Freshman midfielder Nikki Walts has done a great job to help connect our team and I think she’s got one of the better final passes in the conference,” Walker said. “(Freshman midfielder) Sydney Dudley is just a workhorse; she’s kind of an engine in the midfield for us and so I think she’s done an exceptional job.
Walker added that redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Megan Geldernick has also been an impressive contributor just about mid way through the Buckeyes season.
Freshman forward Sammy Edwards and Geldernick have each been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week over the course of the season.
OSU has struggled on the road this season, with a 1-4-0 record in away games. Junior defenser Marisa Wolf said that having confidence and focus will be important for this weekend.
“If we come out with a lot of energy and we aren’t thinking that we aren’t going to win, then I think that we definitely can be successful,” Wolf said. “We have proven ourselves to the higher teams like Duke and North Carolina, and Wisconsin is just one of those teams that we can bump off their pedestal that they’re on right now.”
The Buckeyes defeated then-No. 18 Duke early in the season 1-0 before dropping a game against then-No. 4 North Carolina by the same score just two days later.
Sophomore forward Nichelle Prince said if OSU can channel those performances into its matchup with Wisconsin, the Buckeyes have a chance to be successful.
“We just need to bring that same energy that we bring at home games. Being at home, there’s a lot of energy, a lot of students coming out to watch you play, and we have to bring that same energy when we’re away and try to get some wins in when we’re on someone else’s turf,” said sophomore forward Nichelle Prince.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on the Badgers on Friday at 8 p.m. in Madison, Wis. and then face Minnesota on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Minneapolis.